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DW Fic: A Rose Read, A River Run

Title: A Rose Read, A River Run
Author: [personal profile] kaffyr 
Characters: Rose Tyler, River Song
Rated: PG
Edited by: the steadfast [personal profile] buckaroobob 
Word count: 1,443
Summary: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. Two women who should have had more time to know each other.
Author's Note: This was written during the 2012 [community profile] fandom_stocking  effort for [personal profile] canaan , who mentioned her interest in  emotionally intense stories involving Rose and River.  I love both of these amazing women, and I hope I've proven respectful of them as well.
Disclaimer: as much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole properties of the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement, and take no coin. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play in their sandbox.
_____________________________________________________

“You’re Rose Tyler, aren’t you?”

“Yeah … can I help you?”

“I’m sure you can.”

It was the way she said it that made Rose abandon both the remains of her lunch and the frayed weariness of another escape fantasy. What she saw made her blink.

The woman looked to be about 45, with an unruly mass of strawberry blonde hair barely restrained in a careless ponytail. She was good looking, Rose thought, eyeing the broad mouth and elegant eyebrows, really good looking as a matter of fact, but she wasn’t dressed very well. That beige sleeveless thing that she’d tossed over what looked like a pair of black tights was odd, and the boots and broad leather belt, not to mention the obviously fake gun holstered on one shapely leg, screamed “cosplay” so loudly that Rose wondered if she’d missed seeing a convention flyer in Mickey’s mail.

“Do you mind if I sit down?”

“Help yourself.”

Warily, Rose gestured to the park bench. It was broad daylight, and the lunchtime crowd enjoying the late spring sun would probably offer insurance against any danger. But she wasn’t sure she liked the fact that the woman knew her name.

Could it be one of Mum’s friends? She resisted scowling at the thought of Jackie sending one of her frowsy acquaintances over to spy on her daughter, the uppity shopgirl. Or — she looked up and past the woman — was Neville somewhere about, having a go at her? He’d already sent her three “customers” this morning, each with ever more ridiculous demands taking her away from her real chores. She had half a mind to go to his manager; he might call it just a bit of fun, but she knew he was angry because she’d slapped his hand away last week.

With a smooth economy of motion, the woman sat down and arranged herself, one knee casually over the other in a pose that made the foolish dress look almost sexy. She leaned back for a moment, letting the sun turn her hair to fire, then said, “Neville didn’t send me. And I doubt your mum would want me anywhere near you.”

Rose’s eyes widened. “Wha-”

“No, I didn’t read your mind. But you just hung up on your mother after a rather loud conversation, and Neville made at least one very rude comment when he directed me over here. He wants disciplining, that one … Don’t you want to know my name?”

The woman arched one of those brows, but the smile seemed genuine, and Rose almost smiled back before she thought better of it and shook herself slightly. This one was strange, and the last thing she needed on a Wednesday was strange. She needed ordinary, and safe, and so she said, in her frostiest tone, “Do I know you?”

The woman chuckled, but it sounded sad. “No.”

Perhaps the sadness was why Rose didn’t simply get up and walk away; that and the unwanted but familiar itch of curiosity at the base of her brain. “You talked to Neville? Were you looking for me?”

“I wasn’t certain I was, until he made his rude comment. He doesn’t think much of independent women, especially the ones who call him a sweaty, eight-handed wanker.” Now the woman’s grin was wicked. Against her better judgement, Rose grinned back.

“Well, at least six-handed.”

At that, the woman laughed delightedly, the sound deep and full-throated as she flung her head back, dislodging more curly tendrils from the increasingly tenuous hold of the hair elastic. Rose joined her.

Once their laughter subsided, Rose pursed her lips and looked at her companion, her eyes narrowed, but still friendly. “Alright, you’ve got my attention. What’s your name, then?”

“Melody.” When she put out her hand, Rose shook it, which seemed to please the other woman a great deal.

“And why were you looking for me?” Rose might instinctively like this unfashionably beautiful stranger, but she hadn’t lost sight of just how odd the situation was.

“Ah. Yes.” The woman
— Melody? What a pretty name, Rose thought, almost out of a fairy tale sighed. “I shouldn’t really have, you know. He’ll be simply furious if he finds out, and I suppose I’ll end up telling him, but I couldn’t resist it. Couldn’t resist you.”

This was definitely where she should get up and run, not walk, out of the park, across the street and back to Henrik’s, Rose thought. Or perhaps over to the police officer over on the corner. And yet she continued to sit.

Melody grimaced. “Oh, dear. I’m being needlessly opaque, aren’t I? And a little rude myself. I apologise. You don’t have to worry about another sweaty, eight-handed wanker. I rarely grope unless I’m invited to.”

“Here’s the thing, though,” she said, suddenly reaching over and taking both of Rose’s hands in her own. “I know someone … someone who is going to be very, very important to you in a very, very short time. You’re going to be very important to them, too. Very healthy for them, you might say. You’re going to bring them at least halfway back into the light. And I suppose that should be enough for me. But it isn’t.”

Melody’s hands were calloused, but gentle and warm. Rose couldn’t remember the last time someone had simply held her hands like that. She and her friends never touched each other. Her mother always hugged too hard; Jimmy had always pawed, and Mickey’s affection was always awkwardly tentative.

The older woman continued to speak, as if this wasn’t a completely surreal one-sided conversation.

“Because I’ve discovered that this person … well, this person tends to know the most amazing people. Really quite remarkable ones, people who can see wonder, who leap into adventure without much of a glance behind them. Brilliant people, some of them. And so many of them are kind —
beyond kind, almost irrationally compassionate. They’re all a lot better than m- they’re the type of people who are good to know.”

“My parents are like that,” she said. “But it’s very … very hard to see them these days. And I need all the good people I can find. So I’ve bent the rules a bit. I’ve gone back and I’ve met Martha, and Donna, and I keep in touch with the Capt— no, can’t forget, no spoilers
—   with someone else you’ll meet. And so many others, some you’ll know and some you’ll never know. And everyone of you are worth knowing.

“But there are so many of you, and even bending the rules doesn’t give me all the time I need.” She frowned then, and looked up at the sun again. “I’m fairly sure I haven’t got much time left.” Rose’s heart clenched at the flat way she said it.

“River, River, River, when would I ever let a simple tri-coded temporal shunt program keep me from finding the trail of that artron-shedding piece of junk you travel with? You’re clever but not that
oh.”

The young man came careening out from behind a tree Rose was reasonably sure was far too slender to have hidden even his weedy frame. He stopped dead when he saw the two of them, his long white hands flying up as if to protect himself. Rose could never after decide whether the look in his deep-set eyes was anger or delight as he looked first at Melody, then at her.

“This is Rose Tyler,” Melody said to him. She looked utterly and supremely unsure of herself.

“I know,” he said, very softly.

“I had to, my love.”

He said nothing for what seemed like a very long time. Then: “I suppose you did. I suppose I’d have been disappointed if you’d never tried to.”

Then he smiled, and Rose smiled, too, because his face was abruptly quite beautiful. “Hello. Hello, Rose Tyler.”

“Hello.” She didn’t know what else to say.

“I’m sorry, but we have to be going.” He sounded as sad as Melody had.

Rose looked at Melody. Melody nodded. “We’re going to see the Singing Towers, you see. He even got a haircut.”

The man’s eyes were bright with tears. “I did, didn’t I?”

“Goodbye,” Melody said. She leaned over and kissed Rose softly on the cheek, then stood up and claimed the young man’s right arm. The two walked out of the park and away from her without a backward glance. Rose watched as they crossed the street and turned a corner, gone from her life as unexpectedly as they’d arrived.

That night, a man in a leather coat grabbed Rose’s hand. She remembered Melody, and what Melody had said about her.

She ran.

-30-

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/247382.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
lost_spook
Feb. 4th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
That's just lovely. It's a moment that works and I do especially like your River voice - her flirtatiousness and the lurking sorrow.
kaffyr
Feb. 4th, 2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you think I got River's voice right! It's always so important to me to get the characters I love right, and to do them justice!
elisi
Feb. 4th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
This is very beautiful, and very much like I see them. I would seriously give my right arm to have Rose and River meet on screen, because I think River would just adore her. (Plus, she loved the Doctor to a stupid degree and saved him. These are traits River can appreciate and identify with.)

So, in conclusion: ♥
kaffyr
Feb. 4th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
Plus, she loved the Doctor to a stupid degree and saved him. These are traits River can appreciate and identify with.)

Absolutely, and I say that with both a laugh and all the love in the world for both of them. I need to find an icon with both of them in it.

I'm glad you liked it!
kehwie
Feb. 5th, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
Oh, mercy, in the endless River vs. Rose fandom wars, this is just lovely. So lovely. And the bit with the towers at the end--guh. And Rose meeting the Doctor that night--just so many things.
kaffyr
Feb. 5th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
Why, thank you - and I've never, ever understood the River v. Rose thing. It's never ever either/or for the Doctor; why on earth shouldn't I love them both, too?
kehwie
Feb. 6th, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
I think the fans want one or the other to be his "one true love." I see it more like a widower marrying/falling in love again. Rose was gone by the time the Doctor met River. He was allowed to recover and move on. But that's just me.
kaffyr
Feb. 6th, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
I've always seen him as having many true loves. I don't think his love can, or should, be linear, any more than his life can be. And ultimately I think the people he loves eventually come to understand that. When you consider that the soul he has loved far, far longer and far stronger than any human (or Gallifreyan, for that matter) lies beneath the TARDIS console, and She welcomes everyone else he loves into Herself, well - that's a good way to look at love.
deborah_judge
Feb. 5th, 2013 01:11 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet and sad. I can imagine River looking for the kind of closure that only Rose could give her, to know that the Doctor's life will go on and he will life and love before/after her own time runs out. They're such different women, and both so strong and so loving, it makes sense that they would like each other.
kaffyr
Feb. 5th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
They are different women - but I do feel strongly that they would like each other instinctively a great deal, and that that would, as they got to know each other, grow into a steady affection. I am glad you enjoyed the story!
a_phoenixdragon
Feb. 5th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
Ohhh....ohh, honey, this is my fav fic so far. This was utterly perfect - and that ending!! Ahhh, Melody. As you end it all begins.

*Cries*

Thank you for sharing this...

*Saves*

*HUGS*
kaffyr
Feb. 5th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you like it! The ending came out of nowhere, but it felt right, and the Towers insisted on being there, damn them. But I thought they needed to meet; as deborah_judge said above, and I agree, the whole River v. Rose thing is, in my opinion, complete codswallop. (As is the hate some folks have for both of them. The Doctor's hearts are huge - like ours should be - and he has room for everyone - as we should.

*hugs*
honeynoir
Feb. 5th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
\o/ I love how you portray so much of Rose's - and River's - lives through little glimpses, and Rose's confusion, and River being mysterious, and the Doctor...! And the Towers tying it all together -- just lovely!
kaffyr
Feb. 5th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
I'm pleased that you thought I was able to sketch in a bit of each of their lives. They're both such interesting women that I want to do them justice. Thanks for reading!
gilguns
Feb. 6th, 2013 04:45 am (UTC)
Oh, this is just brilliant!
kaffyr
Feb. 6th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much - that's high praise!
quean_of_swords
Feb. 6th, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of River going and meeting other companions. This was a lovely read!
kaffyr
Feb. 6th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed reading it - and I am happy that you liked the conceit of River going to meet as many companions as she could. I think she feels that she needs to meet people to help model her own behavior properly. (While I think she's a far better person than she, personally, thinks.)
namarie24
Feb. 7th, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is very sweet and rings true. I would love to see these two women meet, as others have said, and you've portrayed it beautifully.
kaffyr
Feb. 7th, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it! How are the kitties?
namarie24
Feb. 8th, 2013 12:34 pm (UTC)
They're doing great, now that we've mostly switched to wet food - and now that they've both recovered from their spay/neuter surgeries. They're back to their normal energetic, mischievous, adorable selves. :)
kaffyr
Feb. 8th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, good! Believe it or not, your kitties - and the real care, frustration and worry that I read in your posts about them - have crossed my mind more than once in the past couple of weeks. Knowing that they're more healthy adds sunshine to my day (although not as much as it does to yours, I'm sure.)
(Anonymous)
Apr. 12th, 2013 02:18 am (UTC)
Gorgeous!
Oh. this works so nicely! Beautiful concept, perfect length, and the voices are all nicely done. Thank you!
kaffyr
Apr. 12th, 2013 02:32 am (UTC)
Re: Gorgeous!
Thank you - I'm glad you liked it, and thought it worked!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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